Melanie Leach ACR
Melanie Leach ACR, Cons cert, BA(Hons) History of Art - I am an accredited textile conservator, with over 30 years experience. As an independent textile conservator, I have been running a private studio for over 21 years. During this time I have worked on a diverse range of objects, including tapestry, furnishing textiles, embroideries and costume. My specialism is for the conservation of tapestries and interior textiles. Clients: National Trust, Doddington Hall Charitable Trust, Britten-Pears Foundation, David Parr Trust, English Heritage, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service, Caius College, Cambridge, Ickworth Church Trust, Charitable Trusts, private galleries and collectors.
The National Trust has been a main client. Projects have ranged from the humble, e.g. domestic cushion covers, Mr Straw’s House, to more complex e.g. the Red Drawing Room pelmets, Felbrigg Hall, to the grand, e.g. the Francois Spiering tapestries at Knole. I admire and appreciate the variety and range of textiles within the Trust’s collection –seeing objects in the context of their setting, getting involved in the story and finding a way of resolving any issues. From 2019-2020, I was employed as the Trust's National Specialist, Textile Conservation Adviser.
I’m passionate about the textiles in my care and always strive to do the best for the object and for the client. As with any conservator, my knowledge and understanding of conservation is constantly developing due to my ongoing experience with a wide range of projects. Working in a private studio, it is even more important to maintain a pragmatic, flexible approach to the jobs that are presented and to be imaginative in finding solutions to problems.
"Thank you so much for all your calm, patient, professional leadership on the Tapestry conservation here at Doddington. You have not only overseen the most fantastic work, you have also launched the careers of a whole generation of tapestry conservators! Thank you, with very best wishes, Claire"
Claire BirchOwner, Doddington Tapestry Project, Doddington Hall
1985-1991 Apprentice and Assistant Conservator to Danielle Bosworth, internationally recognised private textile conservator, founding senior conservator/Head of Studies at the Textile Conservation Centre, Hampton Court. Clients included National Trust, The Royal Collection, The Embroiderer’s Guild, House of Windsor, Paris.
1990 Museum’s Association Certificate in Textile Conservation (ConsCert). Internships at Manchester City Art Galleries, Castle Howard and the V&A. Dissertation: Upholstered textiles from Knebworth House, Stevenage.
1999 Accredited member of the United Kingdom Institute for Conservation (ACR)
First Class Honours Degree in History of Art & Architecture, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, U.E.A.
Return to full time occupation as a self-employed independent conservator with own studio.
Textile Conservation Adviser, National Trust. National Specialist on the care and conservation of textiles using expertise to provide advice to clients at properties, regional Conservators, NT Textile Conservation Studio, the Consultancy and Whole Trust, and to support approved freelance conservators and lead projects.
Freelance Textile Conservator. Owner/manager of independent studio.
Senior Textile Conservator, National Trust, Textile Conservation Studio, Blickling Hall, Norfolk.
Apprentice and Assistant to Danielle Bosworth ACR, private Textile Conservator, London.